By Xu Aiying and Kim Young Shin
Photos = Kim Sunjoo
Seoul l Dec. 26, 2017
“Korea with the world, and the world with Korea. I want Korea to be recognized as a friend.”
So said director Moon Miyoung, who held the megaphone for the promotional video “The Last A.I.” released on Nov. 14, exactly 100 days before the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Just after a week after its release at Korea.net’s official Facebook profile, Korea Clickers, and YouTube channel, the Gateway to Korea, views surpassed 2 million and 750,000, respectively. “From the beginning of the production, my goal was to deliver the message that we will go ‘together.’ I think that message was very clear,” said Moon.
Korea.net sat down with director Moon and actress Kim Youngji, who played the role of the robot, at 231Production in Nonhyeon-dong, Seoul, on Dec. 26 to talk about the filming and the reaction from overseas viewers.
– What was your biggest concern while directing the video?
I wanted to promote Korea to non-Koreans in a friendly manner. My biggest concern was, ‘Will non-Koreans understand this video?’
I also feared that this promotional video for our nation would be received as just another stereotypical, boring video clip. I wanted to jump out of that box.
It took me a long time until I got the idea of a robot from the future that sees modern Korean history from a cool-headed perspective.
– What was the most difficult part about acting as a robot?
I was supposed to act like an emotionless robot and it was difficult to deliver the message while keeping a straight face. After I got the offer, I watched a lot of movies about robots with AI to practice.
Particularly, I spent more time practicing the scene where I expressed curiosity about Koreans coming together at janchi festivals, such as the Seoul 1988 Olympics, the 2002 FIFA Korea-Japan World Cup and the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
– What was the most memorable moment of filming?
Moon: It was the most difficult to find a futuristic spot. Thankfully, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), a modern and atypical building in Seoul, was very cooperative, so I could film this video set in the future.
As the DDP is a top tourist spot, there were many people who wanted to watch the filming. We had a hard time keeping them out of the camera frame because we had to film a futuristic city.
Kim: It was the most impressive to film the scene where I appeared out of the water. I had to be sunken in the water before rising to the surface. It was a first for me to act underwater. It was personally very interesting.
– In the video, there were collages of different scenes of Korea, such as the Seoul 1988 Olympics, the Red Devils and the Candlelight Movement. What’s the message you tried to deliver through those scenes?
Moon: It wasn’t a simple message. I had to tell a historical story so I went through numerous resources and had to choose from them.
The Seoul 1988 Olympics, the Red Devils and the Candlelight Movement all had sentimental aspects — ‘touching codes,’ as it were — with which the Korean people can sympathize. I thought that non-Koreans, too, could also sympathize and be touched by these ‘codes.’
Moreover, Korea is hosting the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, after hosting the Seoul 1988 Olympics, the 2002 FIFA Korea-Japan World Cup and the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011. There aren’t many countries that have hosted as many international sporting events as Korea. I wanted to emphasize this and tell the world that Korea has great potential.
Kim: As the video showed Korea’s joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure, it was very meaningful to me. I hope that through this video non-Koreans can also learn about the historic path that Korea has taken.
– Do you have any message regarding the upcoming Winter Olympics?
Moon: I’m very interested in winter sports. I’m looking forward to the event. I like all the events related to snowboarding. If time allows, I want to be there to help as a volunteer, too.